This Week in Live Music: The Hold Steady, Midnite, Jon Hopkins, and The Clientele
Let’s get right to the tomfoolery, people.
Veteran rock band The Hold Steady WERE all about partying. Until they came to the realization that following through on their reputation might kill them. So they did the unthinkable — the ultimate party-band gave up the party favors, according to a QG interview with Tad Kubler, “It was really terrifying. Very difficult to not feel self-conscious and kind of uptight. But after a while it’s something that you not only just get used to, but that you start to enjoy more. It got to a place where I was finally able to have fun again. You kind of have to re-learn how to do things. And it took me a second to kind of figure that out.” Hold Steady fans would be wise to check out the whole interview, one of those rare candid exchanges that reveals various under-discussed truths about being in a famous rock band.
It feels weird to call reggae music populist, but that’s exactly what Midnite is at its core. The band sings for the people, the marginalized, the forgotten, the hopeful underbelly. The Jamaican rastafarian group walks in the footsteps of Bob Marley, who, like Midnite, was just as much freedom-fighter as music-maker. For 20 years, Midnite has carried the Rastafari flag with purpose and spirit, as authentic as it gets in the reggae genre. Every time they come to San Francisco, it’s important.
British producer Jon Hopkins’ 2013 album Immunity stands as one of last year’s breakthrough accomplishments, a thoroughly calculated amalgamation of house tropes and soundscape engineering and crescendoing blasts of glorious bass. It’s what might happen if Boards of Canada ever decide to make an electronica album (which — good god — would be ear ecstasy). If your obsession with Jon Hopkins is on par with ours, we may recommend going FULL FANATIC and downloading his alarm clock ringtone, which you’ll want to put on loop and never get out of bed, but no matter.
There’s something especially dreamy about Au Revoire Simone’s brand of dream pop. The Brooklyn-based trio plays on the darker parts of the subconscious, crafting elegant melodies with notes that sound like starlight. The band is currently touring in support of its fourth album Move in Spectrums, which earned thumbs up from virtually every critic that came into contact with it.
Long-celebrated folk rock band The Clientele are simply incapable of making bad music. Every song, every album, every performance comes flavored with nuance, spread over the kind of substance we beg of every artist stealing our attention. Which is why news of new Clientele songs — the first time in four years — has devoted fans tickled, hopeful, anxious — all of the emotions. Count us among the many who will cross fingers and toes, praying for a sneak preview at The Chapel this weekend.
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